The shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was a senseless act of violence that, according to current reports, killed six people and injured another twelve. Based on what we know to date, it was perpetrated by one crazy individual.
This was a terrible tragedy and, based on everything we know so far, an isolated incident. But the media and some politicians can’t help themselves and have started assigning blame to people other than the shooter. Of course, the favorite argument is that political rhetoric on the right is too confrontational and several commentators on TV have already singled out talk radio. It is the predictable reaction on the left: blame Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.
One irony here is that the leading blog on the left, the Daily Kos, had an article just two days ago about Giffords titled: “My Congresswoman voted against Nancy Pelosi and is now DEAD to me.” The post has been pulled from the site, but Michelle Malkin has captured an image of the page:
The point is not to accuse the Daily Kos of inciting the nut job who did this, but that the left is very selective about their outrage. They try to link political speech to potential for violence only when they want to silence opposition to their ideas.
We keep hearing how political debate has become more acrimonious in recent years, but this is simply not true. Florida Pundit has previously featured a reason TV video on the 1800 election fight between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. See American Elections 1800 vs. 2010 – Founding Fathers Engaged in Brutal Personal Attacks. Compared to the political rhetoric of Jefferson and Adams even the most passionate people today whether on the Left or Right are tame. America has a long tradition of people making their political arguments passionately often using war-like terms. Sane people understand that when we talk about a “war of ideas” or a “political fight” we do not call for violence.
We should reject the cynical use of today’s horrible tragedy for political gains. This has nothing to do with the political fight of our day about the size, power and cost of the federal government. No one in the Tea Party movement and on the conservative side should shrink from attacking the ideas or lack of ideas on the Left or from boldly proposing an alternative vision to that of the Obama administration.
We hope that Gabrielle Giffords survives and recovers from a shot through the head. Giffords, a moderate Democrat, participated in the reading of the Constitution on the floor of the House that Republicans initiated and that was widely mocked on the Left. Here she is just two days ago reading the First Amendment to the Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.